End Anti-Trade Union Violence in Colombia

End Anti-Trade Union Violence in Colombia

Colombia is the most dangerous place in the world to be a trade unionist. Every year numerous union leaders, union activists and union members are assassinated - simply because of their trade union activities. Over 2,500 unionists have been murdered in the past 20 years, more than in the rest of the world combined.

Most of the killings are carried out by rightwing paramilitary death squads that have documented links to the Colombian security forces. However, many are murdered by members of the Colombian Army and a few years ago information came to light showing how the Colombian secret police were drawing up 'death lists' of trade union members to be shot.

The Colombian regime does very little to bring the perpetrators of the anti-union violence in Colombia to justice. In fact, in over 98% of the cases in which a trade unionist is killed in Colombia, nobody is brought to justice. This impunity is a green light for the assassinations to continue as those responsible, whether they are soldiers, paramilitaries or anyone else, know that they can get away with it.

Expose the Colombian Government's Public Relations Scam

The Colombian Government has devoted substantial resources to a public relations campaign aimed at convincing the international community that they are taking positive steps to tackle the anti-trade union violence in their country.

For example, they claim that they are investigating and convicting those responsible for murdering trade unionists. However, for some reason the Colombian authorities are unable to provide the names of those jailed for carrying out the assassinations - nor where they are being held or how long they've been sentenced to. This leads many to doubt the veracity of their claims.

Furthermore, whilst the numbers of trade union members being killed each year is well documented (see our fact sheet), the Colombian authorities argue that the true numbers are lower. However, they don't publish their own lists and won't explain which murdered trade unionists they are not counting each year - they simply assure people that the numbers assassinated each year are falling and that things are improving. They are lying.

Killings of Colombian trade unionists in recent years






End of year figure if assassinations continue at the same rate

Trade unionists assassinated





ACTION: Click here to send a message of protest to the Colombian Ambassador in London and get your MP to request that the Colombian Government provide some basic facts to back up their claims


Systematic violence against trade unionists (www.ituc-csi.org/colombia-systematic-violence.html)

Examining Workers' Rights in Colombia: Ms. Yessika Hoyos

Examining Workers' Rights in Colombia: Jose Luciano Sanin Vazquez

Threatened and temporarily exiled (www.ituc-csi.org/colombia-threatened-and.html)

Examining Workers' Rights in Colombia: Maria McFarland

Examining Workers' Rights in Colombia: Dr. Jose Nirio Sanchez